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Prepared Foods and Ready-to-Eat Foods at Retail: The New Competition to Foodservice

Hoping to parlay recession-based foodservice-to-retail migration into long-term gains, food retailers continue to ratchet up their prepared foods and ready-to-eat programs. Packaged Facts estimates that grocery stores and supermarkets will grow prepared- and ready-to-eat foods sales by more than 7% in 2010. Their usage imprint is already imposing:

According to Packaged Facts’ proprietary consumer research, 64% of adult consumers have gotten ready-to-eat/heat-and-eat food from a grocery store or supermarket in the last month. Moreover, in terms of total usage occasions, grocery-related prepared foods use leads both family and casual restaurant segments and trails only fast food/QSR.

While convenience stores have also relied heavily on prepared foods and foodservice sales for sales and higher margins, increasing competition extends to supercenters, warehouse clubs, convenience stores and drug stores. At a time when food value is so closely associated with low cost and convenience—and when consumers increasingly perceive private label food retail brands as competitive with name brands on cost and quality—prepared and ready-to-eat foods programs that deliver on quality, taste and convenience can not only compete with foodservice fare, but can also help food retailers adapt to modern consumer lifestyles.

Packaged Facts’ new report, Prepared Food and Ready-to-Eat Foods at Retail: The New Competition to Foodservice offers the foodservice and retail industries new insight into the highly competitive prepared and ready-to-eat foods space. Relying heavily on proprietary consumer research analysis, the report provides “consumer drilldowns” and psychographic profiling, offering foodservice operators and retailers unique access to the minds of prepared foods consumers.

And by assessing the relationship between fast food, family, and casual restaurant attitudes and behavior with that of grocery store and convenience store prepared foods attitudes and behavior, this report also offers unique competitive analysis to help players align and differentiate their product offerings.

The report also include in-depth store audits of prepared foods programs at leading supermarket, supercenter and warehouse/club store players, providing on-the-ground analysis of store formats, food prices, food types and menu items, placing access to competitive platforms at participants’ fingertips.

The report also includes segmented sales of supermarket deli prepared foods, as well as a host of macroeconomic metrics tailored to maximize understanding of how prepared foods fits into the bigger picture.

Data related to consumer demographics, attitudes and behaviors is derived from two sources:

Packaged Facts’ proprietary consumer survey, an internet-based survey comprised of random sample of 1,881 consumers who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. adult population (age 18+). The survey was fielded in February 2010.

The Experian Simmons National Consumer Survey, a booklet-based survey of a large and random sample of consumers who in aggregate represent a statistically accurate cross-section of the U.S. adult population (age 18+). We analyze results from its Fall 2007, Fall 2008, and Fall 2009 surveys.

Report data is also derived from thorough analysis of a host of sources, including the following:

  • Proprietary company interviews
  • The U.S. Census Bureau
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Expenditure Survey
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics Retail Trade Survey
  • Company earnings calls
  • Company presentations
  • Trade associations and trade magazines
  • Academic journals
  • Industry conferences
  • Restaurant menus
Our sales analysis features data provided courtesy of the Perishables Group and relies in part on data provided by the International Deli-Dairy-Bakery Association (IDDBA), in addition to proprietary analysis and data from other industry sources.

Read an excerpt from this report below.


Market Insights: A Selection From The Report


Momentum lies with grocery

In the near term, we believe that macro-economic trends continue to favor grocery: with the recession has come a migration of foot traffic—and food sales—from restaurants into the home, as consumers seek less expensive meal alternatives.

  • As detailed in our Consumer Restaurant Outlook Tracker chapter, consumers report a strong tendency to boost grocery spending and to save money, and a weak tendency to boost a variety of restaurant-related spending and behavior—both in comparison to the three months preceding our proprietary February 2010 survey and for planned behavior and spending during the three months following the survey.
  • As we note below, food at home has become cheaper than food away from home as the recession has worn on.

Packaged Facts’ Consumer Restaurant Tracker: home meal use gains ground

And, as suggested by Packaged Facts’ Consumer Restaurant Tracker, consumers report continuing to shift their food spending into the home, as illustrated by the graph below. Data are derived from Packaged Facts’ February 2010 proprietary restaurant tracking survey.

  • Compared to “three months ago,” about 50% of respondent adult (18+) restaurant goers say they are more likely to eat dinner at home—with almost one-third doing so “a lot more.”
  • 39% say they are eating breakfast at home more than they were three months ago—with almost 3 in 10 doing so “a lot more.”
  • Conversely, restaurant goers are less likely to be using or spending on a range of restaurant options.

Of course, much of this behavior is related to cost: to save money, consumers are bringing their food spend back into the home, after decades of doing the opposite.

And one key barometer, the Consumer Price Index, supports the rationale, as it shows “food at home” prices not only declining during the recession, but also being cheaper than “food away from home” (see the Food at home gains pricing edge section below).

In the News


Food Retail Sales Gain Momentum as Prepared and Ready-to-Eat Foods Lure
Recession-Weary Consumers away from Restaurants and into Supermarket Aisles

New York, June 14, 2010When it comes to food, American consumers want it all.  Particularly, they want the variety and savory flavors of restaurant fare without the hefty financial commitment typical when dining out.  The solution has been to bring food spending back into the home after decades of doing the opposite by finding lower cost, delectable cuisine among the prepared and ready-to-eat foods available at local supermarkets, according to Prepared Foods and Ready-to-Eat Foods at Retail: The New Competition to Foodservice by market research publisher Packaged Facts.
The market study, which includes data from Packaged Facts’ February 2010 proprietary survey of 1,881 U.S. adult (18+) consumers, reveals that about 50% of respondent restaurant goers say they are more likely to eat dinner at home compared to “three months ago.” Further, 64% of adult consumers have purchased ready-to-eat/heat-and-eat food from a grocery store or supermarket in the last month. 

“With the recession has come a migration of foot traffic and food sales from restaurants into the home, and in the short-term we believe economic trends favor grocery retailers as consumers seek less expensive meal alternatives,” says Don Montuori, publisher of Packaged Facts. “Sustaining this momentum will require food retailers to continue their transition toward offering higher quality ready-to-eat products. Otherwise customers will leave as quickly as they arrived.”

Packaged Facts forecasts supermarket/grocery prepared foods will achieve sales of $13 billion and $14 billion in 2010 and 2011 respectively, due to growth of 7% during both years.  Aggressive prepared food initiatives and expansion from players ranging from Walmart to BJ’s Whole Club to Kroger’s Fresh Fare to Walgreen’s are expected to further benefit the food retail landscape by giving consumers more locations and more choices. 

Prepared foods are popular options for two divergent populations. The first are those that may seek low-cost, quick alternatives out of financial necessity, cooking aversion, and extreme convenience. The second is a demographic that can likely afford to spend more on prepared foods, and may choose them as quality alternatives to home cooking or using restaurants. 

As products that allow for simple meal planning, prepared foods are also popular among older consumers age 55 and above, who the survey found are “more likely” to be influenced by the “shopping efficiency” of prepared foods.  As a result, Packaged Facts forecasts that helping older consumers plan their purchases and making shopping trips less stressful through efforts by food retailers to place prepared foods in a central role will become increasingly important to this market.  

As part of Packaged Facts’ Foodservice Market Insights series, Prepared Foods and Ready-to-Eat Foods at Retail: The New Competition to Foodservice, offers the foodservice and retail industries new insight into the highly competitive prepared and ready-to-eat foods space. Relying heavily on proprietary consumer research analysis, the report provides “consumer drilldowns” and psychographic profiling, offering foodservice operators and retailers unique access to the minds of prepared foods consumers.  And by assessing the relationship between fast food, family, and casual restaurant attitudes and behavior with that of grocery store and convenience store prepared foods attitudes and behavior, this report also offers unique competitive analysis to help players align and differentiate their product offerings.  

About Packaged Facts - Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, publishes market intelligence on a wide range of consumer market topics, including consumer goods and retailing, foods and beverages, demographics, pet products and services, and financial products. Packaged Facts also offers a full range of custom research services.

Additional Materials


Foodservice Market Insights

The insights you need, all in one collective series from Packaged Facts.

Cover


  • Executive Summary
    • Scope and Methodology
      • Scope
      • Methodology
    • Prepared foods macroeconomic summary
      • Relevant facts and figures
    • Prepared Foods: Food Retail Usage & Outlook Tracker
      • Relevant facts and figures
    • Share of Stomach: Sales Analysis
      • Relevant facts and figures
    • Trends, Innovations & Strategies
      • Relevant facts and figures
    • Consumer Prepared Foods Selection Analysis
      • Relevant facts and figures
    • Prepared Foods: Grocery vs. Convenience Stores: Consumer Use & Selection Differentiators
    • Prepared Foods: Food Retail vs. Restaurants: Consumer Use & Selection Differentiators
      • Relevant facts and figures
    • RTE Food Retail HH Income & Gender Drill Downs
    • Psychographic Profile Analysis
    • RTE food retail brand analysis: selected insights
      • Casey's General Stores, Inc.
      • Costco Wholesale Corporation
      • The Kroger Co.
      • Publix
      • Safeway Inc.
      • SUPERVALU INC.
      • Whole Foods Market
      • Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.
      • Additional store audits: The Fresh Market, Super Target and Sweetbay
  • Prepared Foods Macroeconomic Analysis
    • The Big Picture: consumers remain under pressure
      • Consumer confidence still in a trough
      • Unemployment picture stabilizes
      • Personal savings rate: a boon and a bane
      • Unemployment rate not one-size-fits-all
      • Disparity in unemployment rates by education level
      • Young adults, minorities and men also find harder going
      • Unemployment forecast: a little less bleak in 2011, and just a little less bleak than that in 2012
      • Slow employment rebound to coincide with a slow rebound in consumer spending
      • Stock & housing declines deflate household wealth; rebound to record 2006 levels a long way off
      • $10 trillion less wealthy
      • Case-Shiller pessimism echoed by FOMC
    • The Food Retail Picture: grocery maintains upper hand
      • Restaurant Performance Index suggests growth-at last!
      • Sales at food services and drinking places tick upward in February and March 2010
      • Full restaurant industry rebound not yet in cards
      • Momentum lies with grocery
      • Packaged Facts' Consumer Restaurant Tracker: home meal use gains ground
      • Restaurant-goers more likely to spend more on groceries and pack lunch than to spend on dining
      • Food at home gains pricing edge
      • Yin and yang of food deflation
      • Farm value comes back down to earth
      • Slight uptick in food inflation expected for 2010
      • March 2010 prices
      • Proteins
      • Other estimates
    • Food retail traffic and migration trends
      • Trading down in food
      • Channel migration: who's on the winning side of the equation
      • CPG shopping trends
      • Planning ahead with prepared foods
      • Spending per trip
      • Channel share shifts
      • Shopping shifts by department
      • Shifts in convenience meal spending
      • In the end, it's a margin game
  • Prepared Foods: Food Retail Usage & Outlook Tracker
    • Note on reading charts
    • Growing prepared foods use based on consumer need
    • Current and intended behavior favors food retail
      • Looking ahead three months
    • Prepared foods substitute for restaurant meals
      • Heavy fast food use correlates with saving money
    • Use of restaurants & prepared foods at food retail
      • Store-made, precooked meals a frequent option for one-fifth of consumers
      • Topline explanation
        • Table Adults Who Often Eat Store-Made, Precooked Meals, Any Agree vs. Strongly Agree
      • Prepared foods serve two key groups
      • Walmart entry to benefit lower-income users
        • Table Adults Who Often Eat Store-Made, Precooked Meals, Any Agree, By HH Income
        • Table Adults Who Often Eat Store-Made, Precooked Meals, Strongly Agree, By HH Income
      • Ready-to-eat/heat-and-eat foods versus restaurant food/drink: use, mean use, and usage occasions
    • Prepared foods at food retail: usage and mean use: key demographics
      • Young males a convenience store RTE target
      • Youth and wisdom
      • HH income is a convenience store RTE determinant
      • Kids in tow
      • An urban favorite
    • Consumer Survey
  • Share of Stomach: Sales Analysis
    • Growth is on the side of grocery
      • Wider competition afoot
        • Table Prepared Foods, Deli Section, Supermarkets and Other Grocery Stores: 2005-2012
      • Deli department momentum
      • Momentum by segment
      • Deli sales at grocery stores and supermarkets
        • Table Deli Estimated Sales for Top 75 Supermarket and Grocery Chains, 2008
      • Supermarket and supercenter service deli sales
      • Deli-prepared foods
      • Analysis: prepared foods share of deli
      • Deli-prepared foods share, by food type
      • Chicken: sales leader grows sales 1.7%
      • Submarines, sushi, and pizza do well
      • Salad bar or no salad bar?
      • Subs up; combos down
      • Prepared entrees should comprise higher sales share
      • Convenience store foodservice sales: thank God for foodservice
      • Food prepared on-site
      • Commissary/packaged sandwiches
      • Hot dispensed beverages
      • Cold dispensed beverages
      • Frozen dispensed beverages
  • Trends, Innovations & Strategies
    • Beyond mainstream: prepared foods net widens and deepens
      • Why we expect prepared foods sales to prosper
      • Walmart's MarketSide prepared foods line cements prepared foods ascension
      • First came the stores
      • Now comes the brand
      • SuperTarget creates springboard for prepared foods
      • Target borrows from SuperTarget playbook
      • Warehouse clubs to push prepared foods envelope
      • Costco: significant prepared foods potential
      • Sam's Club and BJ's report traction
      • New food retail concepts continue to grow store footprints
      • The Fresh Market packs up Bistro Meals to go-and goes beyond basic rotisserie
    • Growth watchwords: value, convenience, quality, education, and atmosphere
      • Supermarket chain remains well positioned to meet consumers' prepared food needs
      • Convenience is King
      • Location, location, location!
      • Quick, quick, quick!
      • App, app, app!
      • Value for the money
      • Neighborhood cornerstone: entertainment, socialization, and education
      • People and households: older and smaller
      • Opportunities abound
      • Going beyond
      • Creating a more interactive food education experience
    • Private label progress holds keys to prepared foods success
      • Safeway and SUPERVALU strengthens PL hold
  • Consumer Prepared Foods Selection Analysis
    • Note on reading charts
    • Convenience and ease most prevalent prepared foods selection factors
    • Grocery/supermarket prepared foods selection factors
      • Factors related to convenience and ease most prevalent
      • Need to harness shopping-related factors
    • Grocery/supermarket prepared foods selection factors: selected demographics
      • Convenience selection factors
      • Universal truths: easy pick up and convenient location
      • Prepared foods do not succeed on their exclusivity
      • Taste, quality and cost factors-age and HH income are important
      • Shopping-related factors: catering to older consumers
    • Convenience store prepared foods selection factors
      • Ease of procurement, portability, low cost, and hunger rule the day
      • Need to step it up
    • Convenience store prepared foods selection factors: selected demographics
      • Convenience selection factors
      • Taste, quality and cost selection factors
      • Shopping behavior selection factors
    • Consumer Survey
  • Prepared Foods: Grocery vs. Convenience Stores: Consumer Use & Selection Differentiators
    • Note on reading charts
    • Convenience versus grocery, prepared foods selection factors
      • Grocery by convenience, prepared foods usage and frequency cross-comparison
      • Cross-channel usage is common
        • Table Usage Frequency Comparison: Grocery by Convenience
      • Convenience by grocery, prepared foods usage and frequency cross-comparison
      • Expanding platforms?
        • Table Usage Frequency Comparison: Convenience by Grocery
  • Prepared Foods: Food Retail vs. Restaurants: Consumer Use & Selection Differentiators
    • Food retail needs to better compete with restaurants
      • At grocery stores, prepared foods may lag on price, taste and nutrition
      • Leveraging strength
      • Grocery prepared foods vs. restaurants: gender, age & HH income
      • Convenience store prepared foods vs. restaurants: age, HH income, location, & presence/age of children
      • Urban dwellers are more likely to view prepared food at convenience stores as more nutritious than similarly priced restaurant fare.
      • Why do low-, medium- and high-frequency fast food users get grocery store prepared foods?
      • Usage frequency cross-comparisons
      • Usage frequency cross-comparison: prepared foods grocery by restaurant type
        • Table Usage Frequency Cross-Comparison: RTE Grocery by Restaurant Type
      • Usage frequency cross-comparison: prepared foods convenience store by restaurant type
        • Table Usage Frequency Cross-Comparison: RTE Convenience Store by Restaurant Type
      • Usage frequency cross-comparison: prepared foods convenience store by limited-service restaurant type
        • Table Usage Frequency Cross-Comparison: Limited-Service Restaurant Types by RTE Food Retail Type
      • Usage frequency cross-comparison: prepared foods convenience store by full-service restaurant type
        • Table Usage Frequency Cross-Comparison: Full-Service Restaurant Types by RTE Food Retail Type
  • RTE Food Retail HH Income & Gender Drill Downs
    • Note on reading charts
    • HH Income Demographic Drill-Downs
      • Grocery store and convenience store prepared foods use and usage frequency in last month
      • Prepared foods appeal to two divergent populations
      • Grocery store prepared foods selections factors
    • Gender Demographic Drilldowns
      • Grocery store and convenience store prepared foods use and usage frequency in last month
      • Grocery store prepared foods selections factors
  • Psychographic Profile Analysis
    • Note on reading charts
    • Meet the psychographic groups
      • Budgeters
      • Healthy Eaters
      • Big Eaters
      • Deal Seekers
      • Deal Seekers and Healthy Eaters heavier prepared foods users
  • Prepared Foods Food Retail Brand Analysis
    • Note on food lifestyle segmentation charts
    • Casey's General Stores, Inc.
      • Products offered
      • Prepared foods growth
      • Prepared food growth reflects strategy to promote high-margin products
      • Current momentum
      • Casey's store menu
      • Casey's by the numbers
        • Table Casey's by the numbers
        • Table Casey's Same-Store Sales Trends
        • Table Casey's Locations
    • Costco Wholesale Corporation
      • Membership structure
      • Costco category sales
      • Prepared foods audits & observations: Costco
      • Snack bar
        • Table Costco: Snack Bar, Snack Bar Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Refrigerated offerings
        • Table Costco Refrigerated Section: Menu Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Costco by the numbers
        • Table Costco net sales
        • Table Costco by the numbers
    • The Kroger Co.
      • Store formats
      • Fresh Fare breaks 100
      • Marketplace growth
      • Convenience stores
      • Private label powerhouse
      • Sales trends
      • Prepared foods audits & observations: Ralph's
        • Table Food 4 Less: Prepared Food Counter, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Prepared foods audits & observations: Food 4 Less
        • Table Food 4 Less: Prepared Food Counter, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Kroger by the numbers
        • Table Kroger by the numbers
    • Publix Super Markets, Inc
      • Table Publix Retail Food Locations
      • Whole Foods? No, Publix's GreenWise Market
      • GreenWise Market Magazine
      • Prepared foods with international flair and fast casual/casual restaurant appeal
      • Prepared foods audits & observations: Publix
      • Deli section
        • Table Publix: Deli Section, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Refrigerated casings
        • Table Publix: Refrigerated Casings, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Hot bar
        • Table Publix: Hot Bar, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Publix prepared foods user analysis
        • Table Publix Store-Made, Precooked Meals Demographic Analysis
      • A nexus between Publix, prepared foods and True Foodies?
        • Table Publix Store-Made, Precooked Meals Food Lifestyle Segmentation & Grocery Spend
      • Publix by the numbers
        • Table Publix by the numbers
    • Safeway Inc.
      • Macro moves
      • Store formats
      • Own brand developments
      • Recent product launches
      • Prepared foods initiatives
      • Recession impact
      • Going forward
      • Prospects
      • Prepared foods audits & observations: Dominick's
      • Prepared food counter
        • Table Dominick's: Prepared Food Counter, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Hot bar
      • Salad bar
      • Soup bar
        • Table Dominick's: Soup Bar, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Refrigerated casings
        • Table Dominick's: Refrigerated Casings, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Ambient temperature casings
        • Table Dominick's: Ambient Temperature Casings, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Hot casings
        • Table Dominick's: Hot Casings, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Deli counter
        • Table Dominick's: Deli Counter, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Starbucks
      • Safeway prepared foods usage analysis
        • Table Safeway Store-Made, Precooked Meals Demographic Analysis
      • Reformed Traditionalist prepared foods users
        • Table Safeway Store-Made, Precooked Meals Food Lifestyle Segmentation & Grocery Spend
      • Safeway by the numbers
        • Table Safeway by the numbers
    • SUPERVALU INC.
      • Retail food operations
      • Private label
      • Prepared foods audits & observations: Albertson's
      • Sarasota location
      • Hot bar
        • Table Albertson's: Hot Bar, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Other prepared foods offerings
        • Table Albertson's: Other Prepared Food Offerings, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Los Angeles location
      • Deli
      • Hot foods
      • Hot & chilled soup kiosk
      • Restaurant-like kiosk
        • Table Albertson's: Kiosks, May 2010
        • Table Albertson's: Hot Foods & Deli, May 2010
      • SUPERVALU by the numbers
        • Table SUPERVALU Retail Food Locations
        • Table SUPERVALU by the numbers
    • Whole Foods Market
      • Good deeds
      • Healthy eating education
      • Product selection
      • Private label strength
      • Store size shift
      • Store atmosphere: a third place
      • A new value twist
      • Sales trends
      • Prepared foods audits & observations: Whole Foods
      • Restaurants/kiosks
        • Table Whole Foods: Restaurants/Kiosks, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Salad bars
      • Hot bar
      • Soup bar
        • Table Whole Foods: Soup Bar, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Refrigerated casings
      • Whole Foods prepared foods usage analysis
        • Table Whole Foods Store-Made, Precooked Meals Demographic Analysis
      • True Foodie prepared foods users
        • Table Whole Foods Store-Made, Precooked Meals Food Lifestyle Segmentation & Grocery Spend
      • Whole Foods by the numbers
        • Table Whole Foods by the numbers
        • Table Whole Foods comparable sales trends
        • Table Whole Foods Retail Food Locations
    • Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.
      • Strategic initiatives
      • Merchandising
      • Outlook and trends
      • Prepared foods audits & observations: Winn Dixie
      • Refrigerated casings
        • Table Winn Dixie: Deli Section, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Hot bar
        • Table Winn Dixie: Hot Bar, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Winn-Dixie by the numbers
        • Table Winn-Dixie by the numbers
        • Table Winn-Dixie Retail Food Locations
    • Additional prepared foods audits & observations
      • The Fresh Market
        • Table Fresh Market: Deli Section, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Refrigerated casings
        • Table Fresh Market: Refrigerated Casings, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Hot bar
        • Table Fresh Market: Hot Bar, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Super Target
        • Table Super Target: Deli Section Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Sweetbay
        • Table Sweetbay: Deli Counter, Items & Prices, May 2010
      • Refrigerated casings
        • Table Sweetbay: Refrigerated Casings, Items & Prices, May 2010
    • Appendix on food lifestyle segmentation charts

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